Jan 012013
 

 

Photo-Receptor Focus on: 2012 in TOR

By Maer

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and fun New Year’s Eve and is ready for another year in SWTOR.

The first anniversary for SWTOR came and went in December, with very little fanfare from Bioware itself. That didn’t stop some of us from celebrating our first year in a game we waited months and sometimes years for. Here’s my take on our beloved game.

More after the jump…

First of all, my favorite thing about TOR is the stories. I liked the Inquisitor story so much I’ve actually made a second one to level up as a DPS Sorc. So far I’m enjoying it just as much as the first time around. I’ve also started playing my other Empire alts more often than I was there for a while.

Next, I really like the stunning graphics. Some of the planets are just gorgeous, with skies to sit and watch. Remember to look up and see things you might miss. Alderaan is beautiful and the skyline above Ilum is worth the trip to just go to see it. The details on buildings are brilliant and some of the architecture is breathtaking.

The Ops are fun and were often the only thing that kept my attention during the long months of no new content. I love Terror From Beyond, especially, but all of the Ops have clever mechanics, fun puzzles and enough difficulty to keep us coming back again and again.

One thing I do want to mention is the knock-back effect which has been implemented on so many bosses. It has come to feel as if the developers use that when they can’t think of anything else and it has become very old, very fast. It’s always been an annoying mechanic in every game I’ve played, but it’s been used far too much in SWTOR and I hope the developers come up with something else. There are a lot of people complaining about it, so I know I’m not the only one who feels it’s been overused.

I still haven’t gotten into PVP much and it’s on my list, but I’m just not fond of how they have it set up. If I could choose where I wanted to go, I’d probably be PVPing a lot. After all, I was in solid top tier arena gear in another game, so PVP is something I enjoy. However, I don’t enjoy lack of choice. We should be able to do random if we want, perhaps with a daily or weekly attached to it and also be able to choose where we want to go. I’ve never been a fan of random and being forced to use it means I simply don’t PVP. I think Bioware is missing the boat on this, as I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way.

I still enjoy the Space Missions occasionally, but I don’t play them as often as I was. I’m not very good at them, in spite of having the best gear out there. I do manage all the low level ones, easily, but the higher ones take more skill than I have. That’s okay, though, as I happily shoot my way through the baby ones.

Now we come to gear, equipment and speeders. This is where Bioware has fallen down. In their quest to keep things realistic, I think they forgot this is a game and needs to be fun. The overall quality of the gear has been pretty bad. Colors are dreary and drab, for the most part and the design of much of the gear is simply ugly.

Speeders were in the same boat (pun intended), but lately, they have come out with several speeders that are awesome, so kudos for improvement in the speeder area. The two new throne mounts and the hover mounts are simply to die for. I can’t wait for the GTN prices to come down enough for me to buy one.

Now, if only they would give us gorgeous clothes for my girls. Right now, I have to go to other games for my color and style fix, where I happily spend hours changing my character’s colors and even style of clothing. Those are hours spent away from TOR because I’m pretty resigned to having blah clothes for my girls. Another missed opportunity for Bioware because if I had the ability to change colors whenever I wanted and get some pretty styles, I’d be spending those hours in TOR.

Of course, if you’ve ever read this column you already know that color and style have been my personal beefs pretty much from the beginning. As beautiful as some of the worlds are, the monochromatic color becomes boring very quickly. There are a few notable exceptions, like Alderaan and Corellia, but many of the others tend to be one main color, with buildings usually drab greys and browns. For instance Hoth is the white planet, Tatooine and Korriban are tan, Quesh is orange, etc. It gets old very quickly.

Quesh particularly is a planet where I do my class quests and get off as fast as I can. Orange is not a color I like on a good day and having it surround me for any longer than necessary is not something I care to do.

There are bugs, but those exist in any game. And I still think there needs to be better and more consistent communication between Bioware and the community.

I’m still reserving judgment on the Free-to-Play model, although my current reaction is one of mixed feelings.

As to the Cartel Coins, I wish certain items were available to buy, rather than the gamble of Cartel Packs.

However, I did finally spend some of my coins on the Grade 7 Ship upgrades and an HK-51 for my new Sorc.

Overall, I think the game has fared well. The quality is uneven at times, with brilliant ideas and execution side by side with major blunders and awful execution. As was recently pointed out to me, many of what I consider blunders are in the style department, so I will concede that some of that is a matter of taste. However, since so many people agree with me, I will also say that the consensus is that TOR gear is ugly. Bioware fixed many of the early blunders (like all the stuff missing for guilds), so I’m hopeful they will do so with the current ones (issues with the F2P).

As was also pointed out to me recently, it’s still a new game and there’s still time to fix the issues that need to be fixed. But that time won’t last forever, so I hope Bioware gets on this stuff right away.

I look forward to the faster schedule of new content releases and I plan to renew my subscription for yet another six months. I also pre-ordered my expansion pack.

So, Bioware, I’m sticking around and hope you stun us all (in a good way) with whatever magnificent changes are coming.

That’s my two credits. What’s yours?

Ready….set…discuss…

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